Schultz May Run Independent Centrist Campaign

The Story:

Interviewed on the storied CBS news program “60 Minutes” last weekend, Howard Schultz, the former CEO of giant coffee retailer Starbucks, said that he is considering a campaign for President of the United States as a third party candidate.


Schultz’ personal fortune exceeds $3 billion.

The quick-and-easy political label for Schultz at this point would be “centrist.” But there are different ways of being centrist, so we’ll try to be more specific here.

In a manner akin to John Anderson, who ran an independent centrist campaign for President in 1980, and to Ross Perot, who did much the same in 1992, Schultz is a deficit hawk, willing both to raise taxes and to cut spending in order to try to bring the deficit and the national debt under control. In that spirit, Schultz is wary of expensive extensions of the social safety net. He is also, again like Anderson (and to some extent Perot) socially liberal on such matters as abortion and the definition of marriage.

The Thing to Know:

One common reaction to talk of a Schultz campaign is that it threatens to advance the reelection of President Donald Trump by splitting his opponents. Schultz replies to such criticism that he won’t get into the campaign unless he comes to believe that he can win. If he wins, then by definition he will not have been anybody’s “spoiler”!

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